Over 108,000 badgers killed
On 19 January 2020, the Sunday Times reported that it’s expected that ministers will soon announce the number of badgers killed during 2019. The release of the figures is later than usual and information from the Times reports an estimate of 40,000 or so badgers will have been killed.
This means that an unbelievable total of over 108,000 badgers will have been been killed during seven years of culling and the increase in 2019/20 represents an approximate 20% from 2018/19. And it is set to rise since the figures are unlikely to include the badgers killed in the supplementary cull zones of West Somerset, West Gloucestershire plus an area of Dorset. Licences for free shooting badgers here now continue until 31 January 2020.
Whatever numbers the Government announces, it will be an under-estimate. All around the country, those working hard to protect badgers have found some badgers that have been shot and killed but not picked up by cull operatives. These are usually recorded as ‘shot and missed’. Not only that but there are well-grounded fears that many badgers are killed illegally under the guise of the official cull.
One other observation. If the number for 2019/20 is 40,000 or so, it will be a dramatic reduction from the total of the maximum number of badgers targeted for 2019/20, which was 64,400.
Finally, when the figures are released we will probably find out that most of the badgers will have been free-shot, a method condemned by the British Veterinary Association as inhumane but which is cheap and so is on the increase.
Somerset Against the Badger Cull created a short video dramatic reconstructing the shooting of one badger as documented by a monitor appointed by the Government. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGm7IcNgXyA